Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stood before a cheering crowd in his home state of Adamawa on Saturday, announcing he will seek the Peoples Democratic Party ticket for president next February.
Decrying the large-scale killings that have touched many parts of the country in recent months, Atiku said President Muhammadu Buhari’s government would be remembered more for its bloodshed than any development it brought to citizens.
“Today, we are witnessing the most insecure atmosphere,” Mr Abubakar said of the killings largely blamed on herdsmen, bandits and militias, before promising to tackle them headlong if elected. “More people died under APC than people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Mr Abubakar told a crowd chanting “Atiku! Atiku!” shortly after 2:00 p.m. that he would curtail inflation and unemployment rate in the country, saying Mr Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress have displayed a common lack of capacity when it comes to the issues that matter to citizens the most.
“Today, we have the highest unemployment rate in history of this country, more than one million of our youth are unemployed,” Mr Abubakar said, adding that the PDP would secure the country, ensure unity and security of life and property.
He also hit Buhari at one of his most vulnerable areas: “Today, we are more divided than at any other time in Nigeria’s history.”
Premium Times reports that the president has been accused of packing key federal offices with people from his region, with critics slamming him as flouting the federal character and affirmative action principles enshrined in federal laws as necessary fabrics for holding an ethnically and religiously diverse entity like NIgeria together.
Buhari has often pushed back against the claims, saying instead that his appointments have been balanced where they are not skewed towards the south.
Abubakar is only one of several top political players eyeing the PDP ticket, having other top contenders like Sule Lamido and Ahmed Makarfi. Recently, political analysts expect the race to get even more fluid when the likes of Musa Kwankwaso, Aminu Tam
buwal and other elements of the Reformed APC make their expected formal return to the leading opposition entity.
Atiku’s stature as a former vice-president with vast political and financial muscle made him a top favourite for the ticket.